Philippe Mengal, Executive Director of the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) in Brussels, is issuing a rallying cry to attendees of next week's Bio-Based Live Europe and the wider industrial base for the bio-based economy to take advantage of the moment for change sweeping the continent. The BBI JU is a €3.7billion public-private partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC), focused on establishing Europe as the world leader in research, demonstration and deployment of advanced non-food bio-based products. Speaking ahead of his presentation (Process Innovation & Technology Stream, 2.15pm, 1st June) Philippe, who before joining BBI JU, worked for over 25 years as a CEO and manager in green technologies, engineering and food/life sciences industries, stressed exactly what the bio-based economy offers in 2017; “Now is the time to seize the opportunity to get on board, and we at BBI JU are facilitating the move towards a more resource-efficient, sustainable low-carbon economy."
"The old economic model built on fossil fuels is outdated. As a continent, we need to move towards a circular model with all the benefits this offers."
"Through our ambitious programme we are supporting bio-based economic growth to boost employment by focusing on three key areas: aiding the demonstration and deployment of novel technologies to enable new chemicals, building blocks, materials and consumer products to commercial level; developing value chain is linking biomass production through to B2B and B2C in the market; and setting up flagship biorefineries that show that bio-based can offer cost, performance, societal and environmental advantages to outperform current fossil-based alternatives – we’ve already got six biorefineries doing this right now across Europe", continued Mengal.
Launched in 2014, BBI JU is driven by the vision and ‘Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda’ (SIRA) developed by BIC (contributing € 2.7 billion of private investments as BBI JU’s private partner), and approved by the European Union, who contribute € 975 million of public funds drawn from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. In the past three years BBI JU has played a crucial role in leveraging investment to demonstrate the importance of bio-based industries to the future of Europe.
But since bio-based encompasses a wide range of existing industries, building bridges between the different sectors takes time and there are substantial challenges to overcome according to Mengal (pictured left);
“The supply chain can be problematic, there’s a lack of technical competencies and only limited data on resource availability. As such, the critical mass required to drive the bio-based industry forward can only be achieved at a European level. No one company, or country can manage this on its own. We are already seeing substantial investments in this sector in the USA, China and Brazil, it’s a global bio-economy race and Europe has the industrial, research and renewable resources to be its leader. BBI JU is proud to be helping put Europe back on the map.”
One of the many benefits of further enhancing the bio-based sector in Europe is that it can support economic growth in areas that need it most, often rural or those suffering from the departure of heavy industry. BBI JU ( @BBI2020 ) focus on building sustainable local value chains around bio-refineries works best at a regional level, as this is where the positive impact of value chain deployment and job creation is most keenly felt.
Philippe is an engaged and passionate advocate for the growth of bio-based industries, and affirms that we’re at a crucial turning point in establishing this new economic system; “The old economic model built on fossil fuels is outdated. As a continent, we need to move towards a circular model with all the benefits this offers. A strong European bio-based industrial sector will significantly reduce our dependency on fossil-based products, help Europe meet climate change targets, and lead to greener and more environmentally friendly growth. Now is the time to make these changes, with industry and government fully on board, and we look forward to hearing from companies and organisations that want to learn more.”
Philippe Mengal is an expert speaker and the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) are an Associate Sponsor of Bio-Based Live Europe - Amsterdam, 31st May - 1st June.
For more information: www.bbi-europe.eu
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